2015 In Wool

Last year around this time I decided to do a round up of all my knitting projects in 2014 so I thought I’d do it again.  2014 was definitely about keeping my feet warm.  My feet, I’m happy to report, were just as warm in 2015, but other parts of me got to be warm too!

I knitted the same number of socks last year as I did the year before, but the big difference last year was in the accessories.  All I managed in 2014 was one cowl for Andrew, everything else was a pair of socks, not so in 2015 but we’ll get to that in a bit.

So here’s a month by month breakdown:

January ~ Unsurprisingly the month started with socks.  Pretty lace ones in a bright orange yarn.  The pattern is Crescendo by Laura Jenkins and the yarn is hand dyed from Canadian dyer Tanis Fibre Arts in the Orange Blossom colourway.

February ~ Birthday socks for Andrew.  Cheaper, big box yarn that he picked because of the bright colour and I think subconsciously, they reminded him of Giraffes!  Just a simple rib patttern, he has big feet and I know a rib is going to fit him well.

The first accessory appeared in February too.  Staghorn Cable Mitts to match a cowl I made at the end of 2013.  The pattern was for wrist warmers but I lengthened them into fingerless mitts.  Yarn is Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool in worsted weight (UK Aran), my local yarn here in Michigan.

March ~Harry Potter inspired socks, these are Socks For The Deputy Headmistress knit in big box craft store yarn but they’re my favourite cheaper brand and they wear really well. (Patons Kroy).

April ~ A hat for me!  This is Clun Forest hat, knit in a different colour of the Stonehedge yarn that I made the fingerless mitts with.  A pretty, simple and quick knit.

And a pair of simple socks, Snow Queen Socks, for the Snow Queen in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe books/films.  The yarn was hand dyed in Maine using old lobster pots as the dye kettle, the colour is Cape Sky.

Another pair of April socks were Alluvial Deposits, these were much more complicated and I thought they’d never be finished.  I knitted them everywhere, even on a beach in South Carolina!  These socks use my absolute favourite yarn for socks, Holiday Yarns Flock Sock, the colour here is Seaglass.

May ~ Back to the Harry Potter themed socks for May, these are Moody Stockings (though technically wouldn’t Mad Eye only require one sock?), a gansey inspired textured knit using a 75% bamboo/25% nylon mix so no wool in these at all.  They’re very soft and surprisingly heavy and more of a sport weight than a fingering.

June ~ It seems I did a lot of fandom knitting in 2015 and I’ve only just realised it!  These socks are Dr. Who inspired, Weeping Angels, named for those creepy angel statues that move!  I bought this yarn whilst on holiday in South Carolina, although it’s a Californian yarn, Pagewood Farms.  I wear these a lot.

July ~ More Literary fandom up next, these are Nemesis, named after the Miss Marple book/program of the same name.  I loved making these, the yarn was sublime, it has cashmere in it, and I adored the simple, yet effective, pattern.

August ~ Mme Bovary socks, yes, more literary themed socks!  These were a mystery knit-a-long, the pattern is split into four clues and you get one a week.  I think these are my least favourite pair this year though, I’m never keen on all over lace at the best of times, but most lace patterns have an all knit rest row between lace rows.  These ones didn’t and I hated the lace on lace rows as they hurt my hands.  I almost didn’t make the second sock!

An August pair I did love though are these, Ugly Duckling socks, so called because you take an ugly skein of yarn and pair it with a solid yarn and a slip stitch pattern and an amazing transformation takes place.  The results are remarkable and they look incredibly difficult, like stranded knitting only they’re neither stranded nor difficult!  I made mine with scraps of yarn from other sock projects.  The technique is called Mosaic Knitting.

September ~ A busy month on the knitting front with three projects started and finished in September, that’s a record.  First up was another hat, Thistle Hat in more of the Stonehedge Worsted yarn, this was left over from a scarf I made for Andrew a couple of years ago.  As you can see, it’s only small, so it knitted up in no time.

Next was a cowl to go with the hat I made in April, another quick knit and it used up the rest of the yarn I had used to make the cowl with so it cost me nothing, as did the Thistle Hat.  It’s called Twisted Willow, and I still haven’t blocked it as I really like how it hugs my neck instead of gaping open.

Finally for September, a pair of socks, and we’re back on the Harry Potter theme.  Tentacular Leaves.  These have been in my queue for ages but they’re pretty complicated, seven charts, and I was more than a bit intimidated, but breaking it down in to individual pieces and not looking at all of the charts as one entity, meant I had them done in just 23 days!  The yarn was also bought in South Carolina, and it’s incredibly soft and a bit fuzzy as it contains Llama.

October ~ I worked on a larger project and two pairs of socks but got nothing finished this month.  I really thought I’d finished something every month last year, but apparently not!

November ~ My most favourite pair of socks all year, possibly of all time, were made in November.  I used Holiday Yarns Flock Sock again (see April) and cemented my love for it, the stitch definition is amazing for cables, and I love cables too!  Pattern is Wheatsheaf Socks and the yarn colour is Amethyst.

The second November pair were another of the Mosaic technique socks (see August) and I don’t know how I feel about these ones.  The bright yarn is 100% Merino so it should be beautiful and sumptuous but it’s not, it’s very splitty; it’s also dyed in very short colour runs and it seems to contain every colour known to man!  I would have preferred to pair it with black but I only had this dark gray.  I think it’s a pair that probably looks better close up as most of the grey pattern on the sock is rather lost.  The pattern is Zarathustra.

December ~ I seemed to finish the year with a bang!  The “big project” mentioned above was finished.  It’s a scarf/shawlette, my first.  I made it with 100g of Stonehedge fingering weight yarn (4 ply) in the Roasted Pumpkin colour; the scarf is called Saroyan after a character in a TV show.

 

I also finished socks this month.  These are Meera & Jojen from the Fire and Ice series of books, so more fandom ones, although I’ve never read the books.  They’re simple ones with a fraternal lace section running down the outside of each one.  The yarn is Araucania from Peru and as it uses pure new wool and not Merino, they’re very woolly socks, but they softened considerably after washing.

And over Christmas I started and finished a hat, Prim, and made my first ever pompom, as an adult at least!, to go on it.  I made it to match the fingerless mitts from February and a cowl I made at the end of 2013, so I have my first matching set now, all made with the Stonehedge Worsted yarn which I absolutely love!

And below is the complete set of hat, cowl and mitts.

There were a couple of other things on the needles in 2015 too.  I test knit for a designer for the first time to check out her pattern and ask questions/report any mistakes/ offer pattern advice for clarification etc.  I only had to make one sock for that, but I do plan on making a mate for it, after all, one sock isn’t any use to man nor beast!  But the pattern isn’t slated to be released until 1 Feb, so I can’t show any pictures of it until that time.

I also should have had a second pair of socks finished in December, but they got put aside in favour of the Prim hat!  I’ve started working on them again and they should be finished soon, I have the heel and the foot to do of the second one, basically 50% of one sock or 25% of a pair left to do.  Here’s the completed sock, it’s called Paragon.

 

So the totals for 2015 were:

  • 14 pairs of socks
  • 2 single socks
  • 3 hats
  • I pair of mitts
  • I cowl
  • 1 long scarf

And all of that added up to 3.17 miles of yarn used, or 5,581 yards, but that total doesn’t include the test sock or the half pair shown above.

So, looking forward to 2016, what’s on the cards, or the needles for that matter?  I definitely want to try stranded knitting, you know, fairisle.  Nothing big, like a jumper, I’ll start with a pair of socks and maybe move on to a nice hat of something like that.  I’d also like to continue knitting more accessories, especially shawls.  I have some fantastic yarn in my stash that’s 100% Merino wool, which won’t make brilliant socks because it lacks nylon content, but it would make fantastic lacy or cabled shawls.  So that’s my plan for the coming months.

Sparkles Monthly Challenge ~ Use Your Favourite Christmas Colours

Hello All – Back again with the December edition of Sparkles Monthly Challenge and this time we’d like to see you use your favourite Christmas colours.

We have two sponsors again this month, first up is a bundle of digi stamps from DeeDee’s Designs

And we also have a stamp set from

craftyIndividualsMy favourite colours for Christmas cards are red and turquoise, but oddly enough, you won’t find anything in this colour scheme in my house at any time of the year, and I’m very traditional when it comes to my Christmas decorations too.  But I do love this combo, especially on a card.

I used a LOTV stamp called Squirrel Snack, I got it last Christmas but this is it’s first outing!  I coloured it with Prisma pencils and added Stickles Crystal Glitter to the snowbank, coloured the sock, blue spruce branches, hair bow and stripey mitts with a Sakura Gelly Roll glitter pen; and finally, added Glossy Accents to her glasses.  That all shows up better in the next photo.

The papers are offcuts of digi papers, the stamping card is from GinaK, the blue backing card is from the scrap box and everything was edged with Tim Holtz ink in Festive Berries.

The die is Memory Box and it was also cut out of scrap card.  The sentiment was free with a UK card magazine eons ago, it was stamped in Versmagic Red Magic ink and cut out.  The little bow came form a package of stationery and there is one tiny red gem on the sentiment to make it look like a tag.

So, only 10 days til the big day, are you ready??!

Crafty Hazel’s Mid-Month Reminder – December

So, here we are, the last mid month reminder for this year for Crafty Hazel’s Christmas Extra Challenge, and also my last post for Hazel as a DT member.  I’ve had a brilliant year playing with the fantastic images from Bugaboo and proved to myself that I can colour in digi images printed on an inkjet printer with Prismacolor pencils and blending fluid.

Anyway, mid December, and I hope you’re over the panic and making things for the box for next year now. No?  Well, better crack on then!  As always we’re generously sponsored by Jodi at Bugaboo Stamps.

I chose the funny Make It Snappy – Merry Christmoose for this card.  It’s easy to colour, very funny and co-ordinates with lots of different papers.  It’s a great choice for quick cards or a production run of cards.

The paper is old school DCWV, the snowflake was in an old pack of embellishments from Michaels from years ago and the blue backing card came out of the scrapbox.  I coloured the image with Prisma pencils and covered the Christmas lights with Glossy Accents.  After this pic was taken I also covered the eyes too because they just look so crazy and goggle-eyed.  I wish I’d thought of doing that before I took the pic!

Sparkles Christmas Challenge ~ Use Die Cuts

Morning All – Well, December is finally here and we have the last challenge of the year at Sparkles Christmas and it’s sure to be a popular one.  Before we get to my project there’s some housekeeping to be done, as always, the winners and Top3 of our last challenge have been posted at the blog; and we have two fantastic sponsors again for this month:

A $10 voucher from Di

And a wonderful stamp set from

craftyIndividuals

I used a lot of freebies on my project this month.  Both the embossing folder and the Partridge In A Pear Tree die were free with UK craft magazines.  The Joy text die is from Memory Box.

Another very flat project from me, it’s a pity that we have to think about such things really.  The pale blue is Bazzil card and I have to say I was very impressed with the way the free folder embossed, the detail is really good.  The Partridge die was cut out twice and offset, and again the quality is much higher than I was expecting, the gold cut is particularly impressive as it’s on thicker mirri card.

This is our last challenge now until the New Year so I hope you’ve been playing along with us, and other challenges, to get all your cards made in time.  Getting them written and in the post though is something that we can’t help you with, lol, and I could do with a bit of help in that direction too! Chin, chin.

Seasonal

Apparently it’s that time of year again…

Saturday 21st November.

As is always the day after the storm passes through, there is blue sky and sunshine to enjoy and complement the brilliant white snow.  Sadly after a very mild November which saw a lot of trees holding on to their leaves, this turned out to be a very destructive storm as the snow was very heavy and wet.  The leaves then allow a lot more of the snow to accumulate, putting a lot of extra stress on to the trees and a lot came down taking the power with them.  We were fortunate in that regard, but 40,000 folks in metro Detroit were not.

Our giant Smokebush on the side of our house succumbed unfortunately.  I took the first and last photos above standing right underneath it yesterday, this morning two thirds of it was on the ground.

We can’t clean it up until later this week, when the warmer temps will melt the snow again, so we took ourselves off to our local State Park and strapped the bits of plastic to our feet again for the first time this season.  Conditions were less than perfect, what with wet snow and warm ground, but it was nice to be out enjoying the fresh air and getting some exercise.

Despite two little falls I managed ok… which is more than can be said about Andrew!  In fairness he’s trying to get the compacted snow off the base of his ski’s, but it would make a great photo for a caption contest!

Sparkles Challenge ~ Anything But A Card

Late to the party again but there has been a lot going on round here in the last week!

Our new monthly challenge at Sparkles Challenges is up and my lovely teamie Cathy, chose Anything But A Card, and boy did the DT have a lot of fun with this as we’ve all made something different.

We have an amazing three sponsors this month!

Bugaboo Stamps

Crafty Bren’s Embroidered Toppers

Marianne Designs Prize Package

Christmas is right around the corner so it might be a good time to knock those homemade gifts off your list.  That was my plan as I made these lovely cabled socks for my friend for her Christmas gift.

They’re called Wheatsheaf Socks and I made them with Holiday Yarns Flock Sock in the colour Amethyst.  I think they’ve turned in to my most favourite pair this year, so I hope she likes them.

I’ve also made a hat and cowl set for the gift pile but I couldn’t get my husband to help me take photos this past weekend, so socks it is!

We’d love to see what you can come up with for this challenge, have fun.

 

Sparkles Christmas Challenge ~ Christmas Decorations

Hello again peeps, November!!  EEEEEEKKKKKKKK!!!  Well, if you haven’t made your Christmas cards yet, I have bad news for you, it’s November!  Yikes.  Moving swiftly on, we have a new challenge at Sparkles Christmas starting today. We have the wonderfully simple theme of Christmas Decorations, lots of choice for you there so we expect to see lots of great entries again!

We are lucky to be sponsored by two fantastic sponsors this time round, and they are:

Who are offering a $25 voucher and

ccWho are offering a 10 pound voucher.

 

I used a really cute stamp that just doesn’t get enough love, this is Fluffy’s Garland from Stampendous, and as usual, Fluffy is getting into all kinds of trouble!

I used Christmas paper from DCWV, all from the scrap box and mounted it on to green card.  Fluffy was stamped and coloured with Prisma pencils and the baubles were covered with Stickles glitter glue and then Glossy Accents when the glitter had dried, so they’re incredibly sparkly and shiny in real life.  The die cut is from Memory Box and I added some red and gold pearls and gems to finish it off.  Nice and simple this month from me!

I hop you have time to join in with us again, please pop over to the main blog to see more wonderful inspiration from my team mates.

Crafty Hazel’s Christmas Extra Challenge

Hello All – Yes, it’s November, can’t quite believe that myself, yet here we are!  Time for a new challenge at Crafty Hazel’s Christmas Extra.  As always we are sponsored by

And the DT get to use some of the fun stamps on our projects, this month I chose “Sign It North Pole

I used some DP from DCWV and added extra sparkle to the image with Yellow and Waterfall Stickles.

You can enter any project as long as it’s Christmas themed and also enter as many times as you’d like too.  After all, Christmas is right around the corner!

Sparkles Challenge ~ Lace And/Or Pearls

Middle of the month, time for a new challenge at Sparkles.  My teamie Maryvonne has chosen the lovely theme of Lace and/or Pearls so there should be plenty of scope for you there.

As always we have two fantastic sponsors for you again, a $15 voucher from:

And 3 digis from:

 

For my card I had an 80th birthday card to make for my Mother-in-Law and decided to use both lace and pearls, and to go for a girly, flowery, shabby chic kind of theme. This is what I came up with:

The two larger papers are Raspberry Road, from a book that was free with a UK card magazine a couple of years ago.  The smaller piece has a text background and was a digital off-cut.  I downloaded the free image of Violets from The Graphics Fairy, resized it in Word and changed to opacity to about 60% to make it look a bit faded out and printed it on to the text digi paper.

The edges of the papers were torn or folded and everything was edged with Distress Ink in Vintage Photo, I even stitched around the main piece too!  I added a strip of lace down the centre and added some pearl clusters from Michaels.

The focus of the card is the sentiment and the flowers and I’m really happy how they came out.

The sentiment if from Inkadinkado and it was embossed in black on to more of the Raspberry Road paper, it didn’t emboss as cleanly as I would have liked though.  I cut it out with a Marvy Uchida oval punch and then cut out two more ovals from thin card. These were stuck together and then the stamped oval was stuck to it to provide a bit of stability for the really thin paper Finally it was inked with the Distress Ink again and popped up on foam dots.  The bow is seam binding and the roses and Calla Lily are from Wild Orchid Crafts and they’re sitting on Martha Stewart punched leaves.  The stick pin in from Little Yellow Bicycle and I stuck it down with some Glossy Accents but when I arranged the flowers it moved and I didn’t notice!  It should have been down and to the right a bit, but I can’t do anything with it now!!  I’ll just have to call that a design feature!

So that’s what I did this month, I hope you can find time to join in the fun, we love to see your beautiful creations.  Please pop over to the main Sparkles blog, there’s a lot of pretty inspirations from my team mates.

Crafty Hazel’s Christmas Extra Challenge ~ Mid Month Reminder

It’s the middle of October and here’s my card for the mid month reminder at Crafty Hazel’s Christmas Extra Challenge.

As always we have the wonderful Bugaboo as a sponsor and I used their image “Stocking Mouse’ for my card.

I also used a Memory Box die, a Martha Stewart snowflake punch, a Lily of the Valley sentiment and some gems from my stash.

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